CSU researchers study whether ethanol byproducts are dangerous
February 24, 2008
FORT COLLINS – Colorado State University researchers, following up on a study in Kansas, are trying to determine whether ethanol byproducts too dangerous to be used as cattle feed.The Coloradoan reported that a Kansas State University study found that distillers grains, the leftovers from producing corn ethanol, are linked to a 50 percent increase in E Coli when fed to cattle.Researchers and cattle ranchers maintain the product, a byproduct of converting starch from corn into ethanol and carbon dioxide, can be a good source of nutrients when blended with other cattle feeds.The CSU research is going on at the university’s research feedlot in Lamar.Two years ago about 10 million tons of distillers grains were produced nationally and that is expected to grow to 16 million tons 2010, according to an Ohio State University study.”It has just blown up so quickly,” said Shawn Archibeque, an assistant professor of animal science at CSU. “Seventy-five to 80 percent of the distillers grains are being fed to dairy and beef cattle.”Increased sulfur in the distillers grains comes from adding sulfur to the ethanol machines, Archibeque said. High levels of sulfur can cause sulfur toxicity in cattle. While that doesn’t taint meat, cattle suffer neurological damage that causes the animals to ram their heads into the wall, stare up at the sky and, if not treated, die.